April 23rd, 2008
06:35 PM ET

What the Pennsylvania primary really means

Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst

What the Pennsylvania primary really means:

  1. Demography is destiny. Pennsylvania has a lot of seniors, blue-collar workers and Catholics. All strongly for Hillary Clinton. African-Americans, young voters and Independents were loyal to Obama. But there were not as many of them. This is now trench warfare. Each contender is trying to pump up turnout from his or her own base.
  2. Pennsylvania borders Ohio. It voted like Ohio (both went for Clinton by 10 points). Three other Ohio neighbors will vote next month – Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky. WV and KY look good for Clinton. Indiana may be closer because 20 percent of Indiana voters live in the Chicago (Obama) media market.
  3. North Carolina is nowhere near Ohio. North Carolina demographics look good for Obama – African-Americans, young professionals in the Research Triangle area.
  4. When Pennsylvania primary voters were asked who they thought would win the Democratic nomination, they said Obama. But they voted for Clinton. This is odd. More and more Democratic voters believe Obama will be their candidate. But there’s no Obama bandwagon.
  5. Hillary Clinton is not just the Comeback Kid. She’s the Comeback-of-the-Month Kid. Four months, four comebacks: January – New Hampshire, February – Super Tuesday, March – Ohio and Texas, April – Pennsylvania. Each time, from a near-death experience.
  6. The Democratic Party is in a tough place. Obama can’t close the sale. Clinton can’t overtake him. It’s not that she’s so far behind – she’s not. It’s the Democratic Party rules that make it difficult to pick up delegates. Or to gain the edge in popular votes without counting Florida and Michigan.
  7. We’re seeing evidence of damage to the Democratic Party. Only 53 percent of Clinton voters in Pennsylvania said they would vote for Obama over McCain. 68 percent of Obama voters say they would vote for Clinton over McCain.
  8. There is a growing danger that the loser will argue the process was unfair – that he or she was cheated out of the nomination. That would split the party wide open.
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Steven Sommer

    Hillary Clinton has been around the corner and is a very intelligent
    woman. She would be my choice #1. I would rather see a woman
    in office!!! Hillary is ready!!!

    There are to many projects, problems and the war awaiting the new
    president, to much for a newby like obama to take on!!! He wants to
    change the whole goverment system too! How does he plan on
    accomplishing that, has anyone asked? My advise, Just watch out
    for a smooth talker who comes out of no where! He may just lead
    you down the wrong path as the Bible says!

    Vote for Hillary Clinton we know she can do the job and get this
    country back on track!!!

    April 25, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  2. David

    Barak Obama is the choice of the vast majority of African-Americans because of his skin color. To choose a candidate for any reason no matter how illogical is the right of each American. The Clintons have done more for African-Americans and there quest for true equality yet primal racial identification or a naive longing for a transcendental figure to save us from ourselves seems to have blinded them to there own self-interest. If Obama wins the nomination and the election, he will become another Jimmy Carter. A president who held the high hopes of a dispirited nation in his hands only to drop the ball because he was hopelessly out of touch with the realities of modern politics. Obama, like Carter, will inherit a democratic majority in the Congress only to squander that advantage and achieve next to nothing due to lack of experience. Moreover, that sad fact will propel us into another 10 or 15 years of republican mismanagement, greed and stagnation.

    April 24, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  3. Sue

    The American Democrats want Hillary Clinton as our nominee and our next President; she is a fighter and will never give up and that is what we have to have in our President. I hope the Superdelegates will be smart, the reason Obama is ahead is because of the media and Howard Dean and we did not know anything about him. Obama can not win in Nov.. Thanks, Sue

    April 24, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  4. Lesa

    Hillary made the comment that she has received more votes than anyone running for President. The point is she has, even if they don't count because come November those same people are going back to the polls. If people don't like Obama then they will vote for McCain. So just because the votes don't count for deciding the democratic nomination does not mean they don't need to be looked at for November and who can win Florida and Michigan.

    All of the people who say wait a minute those don't count – you better think of who can carry those states in November and who can't.

    April 24, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  5. Taj

    Bill, Your item # 8 is not going to happen. The loser will be offered VP. It will be very stupid to bring the Republican party to powe. Democrats have to win.

    April 24, 2008 at 12:16 pm |
  6. Caliguy55

    Personally, I really don't care who is ultimately the Democratic Nominee because whoever it turns out to be will get my vote. Hopefully, everyone who is concerned about our once great country and the destruction wrought upon it by the GOP Administration of the last seven years will unite behind whoever is the Democratic Nominee and give him/her a landslide victory into the White House. Further, I hope that every thinking person votes Democratic for every open office in their particular location, especially if the race is for the Senate or the House of Representatives. We need to provide a Democratic President with super majorities in both Houses of Congress so that the GOP will be relegated to a meaningless entity unable to stop the reforms so desperately needed to save our country. I ask, no I beg, that everyone who loves our country and what it should truly stand for will remember what has happened over the last seven years and vow that it will never happen again. It's the least we can do for the Founding Fathers, who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in creating the best form of government in the history of the world. To do anything less would be treason in my view.

    April 24, 2008 at 11:04 am |
  7. Desiree Pantophlet

    Obama is a really likable and charming guy, but fellow Americans, please get a grip. We are facing some perilous times in our country and we have to think about how to regain our stature, respect and be the nation that so many others admired and wanted to emulate.

    Obama IS NOT READY to be the commander in chief of our nation. Not because there are so many things that are yet to come out. His affiliation with his pastor is is really nothing compared to his own personal agenda, and yes, there is one. Both he and Michelle share the same views as their pastor, which is very understandable after all the time he was mentored by him. Thus far he has been insulated and shielded by the media and has not really been vetted as he should, but the Republican party will bring everything to the surface in due time, that you can count on. And if you think Hillary threw the kitchen sink, let's anticipate the heavy artillery that the opponent will bring out.

    The same media that adore him now will later ostracize him and nail him to a cross. Many of his supporters are not looking at anything past race, which is very sad, the other portion is still unstable and likes the risk factor. I am also of his race, but above all else, I have to think about my future and also my family's future. And to elect him as our president in 2008 is a very foolish and reckless risk which I am not willing to take. I'm not saying he isn't presidential material, but it's simply not his time. It will be a fatal mistake for them to give him the nomination. The democratic party as we know it will be over and never to recover any time soon.

    April 24, 2008 at 8:56 am |
  8. julie s

    Can we just stop the charade that any of these primaries matter?

    Hillary can't win the nomination via the primaries, and has made it clear that she has no intention of accepting the voter's choice, so let's just stop wasting all the time and money, and let the superdelegates go ahead and decide this right now.

    If the superdelegates plan to disenfranchise every person who cast their vote in these contests, by over-turning the results, let's just get it over with.

    April 24, 2008 at 3:29 am |
  9. Democrat

    We are all making a big mistake and the "Bitterness" has to stop. The democrats actually need "Obama and Hillary" on the winning ticket in November. The problem is Senator Clinton do not want to be on the ticket in November as Vice President, she wants to be the front runner as president because of some sort of "ENTITLEMENT TO THE THRONE".

    Therefore, Senator Clinton will do anything to be the front runner even if it means damaging the democratic party and/or Senator Obama's reputation. Personally I think this is childish. It is like we are dealing with "a spoiled little girl who gets whatever she wants". Someone needs to get involved and stop this before we end up with another Republican back in office.

    April 24, 2008 at 2:38 am |
  10. Sharon

    Interestingly Clinton attracts the uneducated and the older population, what does that mean, the uneducated are easy to lead and are less likley to participate and more prone to follow in any process. Similiarily, the older population would be much more resistant to change and static in their thinking. Thus, when discussing change these voters would be followers as opposed to participants and Clinton would be free to run the soul agenda without much resistance, an agenda defined by herself and only herself. Whereas, Obama attracts the young and more educated voters, the young inject new blood, more progressive thought for they have not yet been moulded and thus, will challenge and be much more open to change. The more educated voters will also be more progressive in thought and be much more willing participants in change due to their skill, education and opportunities available to them. Sadly Clinton is a bright women but as a professional she is far from attractive, I have worked with bright professionals and have never experienced anyone who has behaved as Clinton and actually gotten away with it. MEOW that is all I can say.

    April 24, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  11. Scott

    I really don't understand the pennsylvania position. The clinton's are bad news... the implementors of NAFTA, the very program that ravaged the Pennsylvania economy. It's not about race or gender; it's about truth and honesty. A vote for a clinton is a vote for more of the same, more jobs lost to foreign countries.

    April 24, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  12. imel

    The Penn vote means that the Democratic Party is history and not because Hillary and Obama are fighting each other for the nomination. It is becoming very clear that the DNC is NOT democratic. If Obama wins, then Hillary delegates go against the Dem Party because of the amount of money that Obama has spent on HIMSELF (hardly a democrat ideal) and the lack of the DNC to show leadership which is Not hierarchial, rule bound and autocratic. If Hillary wins, then blacks will cry racist and whites and blacks will flock to the Republican Party. Obama and Hillary will try to unite the party and they will for those who are left; but many will turn and become independents or Republicans.

    April 24, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  13. scott

    Do you have any idea what you are saying about white pennsylvanians who voted for Clinton? You said they were uneducated and racist. Maybe the flag pin is important to us uneducated people.

    April 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  14. linda hemmingsen

    obama is so far to the left and has such radical ideas like his pastor and the people he associates with. clinton is a moderate and has worked across party lines to get the job down. she is experienced and has knowledge of the world and their leaders. clinton has the best chance to change america and get people back to work and provide them with ealth care. she has cared about people all her life and she is not going to stop caring no matter how hard people try to destroy her and bills legacy. she has won all the big states that need to win for andelection obama has out spent her, his supporters have used dirty tricks to make her look bad but she gets up and it makes her the strong person sshe is. we as canadians are watching and hoping for her to win because we also want to see the U.S. get back on its feet again because a prosperous U.S. helps everyones economy work.

    April 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  15. AvaMarie Latimer

    I am from Michigan.

    Is anyone aware that Obama instructed his Michigan voters to be sure and vote Jan 15 to insure their voices would be heard. He instructed them to vote "UNCOMMITTED".

    I want my vote to count and I am for Hillary. The link will not paste here, but I can assure you I have it.

    He has such gall to act as if he had no knowlege of his own statements. Surely the Credentials committe should know about this!!!!!
    Ava from Michigan

    April 23, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
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